It’s January, and despite frigid flurries and dark nights, the New Year carries stubborn hope. With the turning of the calendar, we resolve to turn our lives around. Research has proven that this “fresh start effect” really works—people are more motivated to pursue goals around milestone holidays.
When asked to identify yourself, you’re often required to give your name and address—your home is tied to your identity. Choosing your New Year’s resolutions is an opportunity to review your identity, taking stock of your personal challenges and making concrete plans to address them. While some resolutions concern your inner life, making improvements to your outer life in your home can boost your well-being beyond 2022.
Taking steps now to increase the safety, comfort, and affordability of your home helps ensure that you can stay there for the long term. Living at home as you age has significant benefits that can lift many aspects of your well-being, from securing your independence to keeping you connected to your community. Gretchen Kingma, an occupational therapist, realtor, and Truehold General Manager in St. Louis, recommends some simple steps you can take to enhance your life at home and maximize the benefits of living at home for years to come.
If you’re looking to take advantage of the fresh start of 2022 to improve your life for the long term, we suggest picking one (or more!) of these New Year’s Resolutions for your home:
It’s amazing how many things can accumulate by the end of the year. As you collect more items, however, it becomes harder and harder to keep your space clean, organized, and safe. Decluttering cultivates confidence and energy, decreases fall risk, and makes your home more inviting for visitors. There are two main methods to declutter a home: purging and sorting.
Purging is the process of going through your things, room by room, and determining what you no longer need or want. Donating unwanted items so that they can be reused is a great way to reduce waste.
Once you’ve determined what’s worth keeping, you can sort your items so they’re more visually appealing and accessible. Clear counters of things you don’t use regularly, and place everyday items nearby to make them easier to reach. Try storing things away using baskets, bins, or boxes or hanging items on walls using pocket organizers and hooks. Gretchen’s favorite tool for decluttering is a simple label maker to organize containers: “Having high visual contrast on the label allows you to identify and locate it easily in a room filled with boxes of stuff.”
Purging and sorting your entire home can seem overwhelming, so as you make your resolutions this January, we recommend tackling one drawer, closet, or room at a time. Once you see the transformation a little decluttering can bring, you’ll be inspired to make your way through the entire house this 2022.
You never know when you, a loved one, or a guest may experience mobility or vision issues, and it’s best to make sure your home is welcoming to everyone. From Gretchen’s experience as an OT realtor, she recommends a few easy ways you can make your home more accessible while keeping it clean and crisp. Every homeowner can follow these simple steps to upgrade your home accessibility.
Make your space look bigger while creating more room for mobility aids.
Look tidy while also avoiding trips.
Use a non-slip pad or an adhesive under the rug to keep it from sliding, and check your rugs to make sure they aren’t rounding or piling at the corners.
Brighten up your space and help visually impaired people navigate the room.
Stay hip and trendy while increasing visibility so that visually impaired guests and emergency responders can more easily identify your house.
The New Year is a great time to motivate yourself to tackle routine home security checks. Take this opportunity to make sure your home is safe by checking the following:
Ensure you have a detector on every floor of your home. Check existing detectors’ batteries by holding down the test button on your device.
3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in buildings with dysfunctional smoke alarms. Check the back of your smoke detector for the manufacturer's date. If it’s more than 10 years old, the U.S. Fire Administration says it needs to be replaced. Every month, you should also check the batteries in your smoke detector by hitting the test button.
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that causes lung cancer and exists in high levels in 1 out of every 15 homes. According to Grethen, “It’s a great idea if you hadn’t had a radon test completed in a while to do a radon test especially if you have a finished basement that you’re hanging out in.” You can find more information from the Environmental Protection Agency and buy a test from your local hardware store.
These New Year’s resolutions keep money in your pocket while also protecting the environment.
Here are a few examples of these win-win solutions.
One of Gretchen’s favorite recommendations is switching from a manual thermostat to a smart thermostat. These devices connect your heating/cooling system to the internet so that you control it using an app on your phone or tablet. Not only can you easily adjust the temperature without having to get up from your seat, but you can also set a schedule so that you don’t waste money and energy heating a room you’re not using.
Gretchen suggests The Nest by Google because its simple design is easy to use for people of diverse physical and technological abilities. Some power companies even offer rebates if you switch to a smart thermostat.
Cheap and easy, this change can significantly lower your energy usage.
Switching out your showerheads for low-flow showerheads helps reduce your water usage without compromising water pressure.
Whether you choose to organize your home with some classy labels, brighten up your space with new lights, test your carbon monoxide detectors, or save energy with a smart thermostat, you’ll be making significant strides towards improving the safety, comfort, and affordability of your home. At Truehold, we want to help you live at home for as long as you’d like, so we hope you find these suggestions helpful.
If you’re still having trouble addressing the physical or financial challenges of home ownership, you may want to consider Truehold’s Sale-Leaseback as another option for your New Year’s commitment to an improved life at home. Through our Sale-Leaseback program, we buy your home, and you unlock 100% of your home equity. Then, you stay in your home as a renter for as long as you’d like without having to worry about maintenance, home insurance, or property taxes.
If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to connect. Our Truehold Advisors are available by phone at 314-353-9757 or you can fill out the form below to request your free info kit today.
Happy New Year!